Mark Twain said, “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session”. That saying always makes me smile and then nod.
I start the blog out with that because I have asked Brian Sullivan to do a summary of the past Virginia General Assembly session. I’ll let you decide if you think Mark Twain was right. On to Brian’s analysis:
This past January and February, the Virginia General Assembly met and considered nearly 3,000 bills, resolutions and budget amendments. Of those, the House passed 456, and the Senate passed 344; for a grand total of 800 new laws! Well, slightly less since some are doubled; but it’s still a lot and most of these go into effect on July 1st. So you better get to reading!
Fortunately, the vast majority of these will have little to no effect to you whatsoever.
For example: House Bill (HB) 1545 and Senate Bill (SB) 685 removes the word “inspection” from references to the United States Postal Inspection Service in several criminal procedure sections. Exciting, right?
Other new laws may effect you, but almost unnoticeably; HB1440 & SB899 allow the ABC to round the final price of each container of alcoholic beverages it sells to end with a nine (9). Under current law, the final price may be a multiple of five (5). So if you’re planning a large Independence Day party, be sure to do your shopping a week in advance to save those 4 pennies!
News coverage for the session has mostly focused on new laws concerning the handling and reporting of sexual assaults on college campuses, ethics reform, budget amendments, and a few others. Most of the other bills passed are technical adjustments or minor policy changes, others only effecting associations or a small subset of the population. But there are a few that could be of interest to you. Let’s take a look:
- HB1342 & SB1220: These bills expand the law against following too closely to more than just cars. This now includes non-motor vehicles like bicycles, electric assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, and mopeds.
- HB1499 & SB1427: Provide that a mother may breastfeed in any place where the mother is lawfully present. Current law only allows breastfeeding on any property owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth.
- HB1307 & SB1293: Public elementary and secondary schools will no longer be permitted to require parents to provide the student’s social security number. Instead, an identification number program is being developed. (goes into effect August 1st.)
- HB2090 & SB1260: Require new training standard materials and regulation for Restaurants that address food safety and food allergy awareness and safety.
And last but not least:
- HB1472 & SB1362: Designates “Our Great Virginia” lyrics by Mike Greenly and arranged by Jim Papoulis, as the official traditional state song and “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” by Robbin Thompson and Steve Bassett, as the official popular state song.
Of course, depending on what you do for a living or what your interests are, there are potentially many new laws that may directly effect you. If you’d like to take a look at all the bills that were passed by the General Assembly this year, it’s as easy as clicking here.
And now for our usual blog pic o’ day…